Mike Chiari@@mikechiariTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2023
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An anonymous NBA executive reportedly believes it will be a busy offseason in terms of trades and free-agent signings.
According to Howard Beck of GQ Sports, an Eastern Conference exec said, “It’s going to be an active summer.”
The executive also said that while there will be fireworks in terms of player movement, they’ll be “like Memorial Day” rather than the Fourth of July.
The free-agent market isn’t necessarily flooded with huge names who can disrupt the NBA’s balance of power depending on where they sign, but there should be some solid names out there nonetheless.
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden has a player option for next season. If he declines it as expected, he will become arguably the best player available.
Other free agents who should be heavily pursued include Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton and center Brook Lopez, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vučević.
Although the offseason is still young, it has already been active on the trade front. Most notably, the Washington Wizards dealt guard Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and draft compensation. Washington then flipped Paul to the Warriors for guard Jordan Poole and draft picks.
Additionally, a three-team trade was reached, sending guard Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics to the Memphis Grizzlies, center Kristaps Porziņģis from the Wizards to the Celtics and guard Tyus Jones from the Grizzlies to the Wizards.
Some other big names could still be made available too, including Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
Lillard has expressed a desire for the Blazers to build a winner around him so he can chase a championship in Portland. But rather than trading away the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft for a star, the franchise selected guard Scoot Henderson.
ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst said Tuesday on Get Up that Lillard “absolutely did not” request a trade when he met with the Blazers front office this week, but that doesn’t mean it is out of the question eventually.
A Lillard trade would be explosive, especially if he goes to a championship contender like the Miami Heat. His situation is undoubtedly one that bears watching.